I spend a great deal of time these days keeping up with the tsunami of information about SARS-CoV-2 (the virus) and COVID-19 (the illness), with a goal of sharing valid and useful information with others. I've taken to suggesting that people identify crap with the CRAP test:
Currency - the timeliness of the information:
● When was the information published or last updated?
● Have newer articles been published on your topic?
● Is your topic in an area that changes rapidly, like technology, health, science or popular culture?
Reliability - the accuracy of the information:
● Are there statements you know to be false?
● Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published?
● What citations or references support the author’s claims?
● What do other people say about the topic?
Authority - the source of the information:
● Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor of the source?
● What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?
● Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
Purpose - the reason the information exists:
● Is the purpose of the source to sell, persuade, entertain or inform?
● Are there any political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?
● Are alternative points of view presented?
● Does the author use strong or emotional language?
I’m seeing a ton of really sketchy and misleading material posted daily by people, some of whom I like. We really can, and should, do better.